Doing just enough for victory after the introduction of a young French forward and marking the departure of an established player to Manchester City. How very, very Arsenal...
We're not a fan of meaningless marks out of ten, so here's a ratings system you can really get on board with. From 'breaded ham' to 'cat litter' with plenty in between...
On Friday night, England lost 2-0 to Chile at Wembley. The traditional atmosphere was almost entirely absent, with only the incessant and maddening England Band hooting throughout the game, driving sensible men mad. Football365 Diarists, unaccredited hacks that they are, were not privy to the ongoing verbal jousts and eating in the press box, but were rather in the ground. Armed with a dictaphone each, and a dream shared between the two of them, they recorded conversations around Wembley II. We have not heard from them since, but simply found the dictaphones in an envelope on our desk, addressed thus:
Sky Sports Building
We've transcribed what we can, and it seems as though this may be the last offering from the pair. If you know about their whereabouts, please contact us or the police. Any information could help. Thank you.
Conversation 1, 6.46pm:
Boy 1: "No, enganche means hook. Trequartista means three-quarter. Volante means wheel. Lateral means side. Pivote means pivot. Velocista means someone who is fast. Freelance means unpaid. Vertical means horizontal. Even somebody as addled as Adriano Leite Ribeiro would be able to understand that."
Man 1: "Like I said, you can either use plain English when you talk to me about tactics, instead of posturing about like a pompous show-off, or you can go and find somebody else to talk to. Go back to Twitter and leave me in peace you tedious [inaudible]."
Conversation 2, 7.00pm:
Man 2: "I'm telling you, it is a legitimate space tale. If a white man who broke the South African cultural boycott can't call a person of a colour a monkey, without giving any context to the label until reminded to several times, then I'm telling you, the terrorists and Patrice Evra have won. It's political correctness gone mad. Next thing you know we'll have women at football, or suicide bombers playing at full-back. Not in my name."
Man 3: "I don't care what you think, I'm not going to publish that if you file it tonight. It just makes you look racist."
Conversation 3, 7.30pm:
Woman 1: "I just took a peek at the executive suites upstairs. It's vile. There are three partially disrobed businessmen up there, in a paddling pool of tepid pork mince. They're down to their pants, socks and sock garters, slathering fatty meat all over themselves and another, while that Tory MP [redacted - Ed] videos everything, taking a break every few minutes to fondle himself and squeal like an overexcited child. I'm very seriously considering not voting for him at the next election."
Woman 2: "[Inaudible]? You've got to be [redacted - Ed] kidding me. He was doing that last time too."
Conversation 4, 7:47pm:
Man 4: "Okay. Two gross, no questions asked, delivered straight to your house. The driver's discreet, the boxes are unmarked. Nobody will suspect a thing."
Man 5: "Look, I've told you, I don't want your stupid shampoo."
Man 4: "I just feel so alone."
The next two hours feature ramblings of Andi and Alex, most of which cannot be made out. At some point Andi demands Alex puts down "that gun". In a later conversation Andi says, "It's OK. I've lost a lot of blood but the flow seems to have died down for now. It was an accident, don't blame yourself." Before the final conversation below, the tape plays announcement from what seems to be Sheffield Bus Station.
Man 5: "Time of death estimated to be 11pm. [buzzsaw sounds, followed by a squelch and pop]. Brain, 4 kilos. Light for an adult, showing discoloration across the frontal lobe. Now let's have a look at the viscera. [sound of knife slicing, with another squelch]. I've removed the stomach and will open it up with an incision to see what's inside. Oh, God [vomits]. It's just pork and bits of pastry. It's completely full of pork mince. You could sew up this stomach and whack it in the oven, and you'd have yourself enough dinner for a family. Look, there's a little lining of jelly. The intestines are... urgh... exactly the same. I think that's some HP sauce. Miles and miles of them, are totally impacted with pork mince. I just don't [vomits] understand [vomits]. He's eaten so much processed pig that his organs have swelled. The arteries and veins haven't had the space to pump blood around the body. He's eaten himself into suffocation."
Man 5: "Tony, that's the same as the other one. The one with the earring and the gunshot wound in his thigh. The one in the Dulwich Hamlet shirt. What the hell has happened?"
Andi Thomas and Alexander Netherton